Headlines: Han's Family Appeals, Kirtland Yanks Spill Reports...

Sep 3, 2014

Credit Courtesy of Han Family

Mary Han's Family Appeals Over Her 2010 DeathThe Associated Press

The family of an Albuquerque civil rights attorney found dead in her garage is appealing a federal judge's dismissal of a lawsuit that accused police and city officials of mishandling the probe of her death.

An attorney for the daughter and sister of Mary Han yesterday filed a notice of appeal with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The family had sued the city, top officials and police alleging they too quickly ruled her death a suicide and trampled the scene, spoiling evidence that may have unraveled the mystery around her death. Han had sued APD many times.

But a federal judge said last month there's no fundamental right under the constitution to know the cause of a family member's death.

City officials have called the case frivolous but have not explained the highly irregular and suspicious circumstances involving APD’s botched investigation and contamination of the crime scene. 

Kirtland Wants To Yank Reports On Fuel Spill - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Kirtland Air Force Base's commander says reports on contamination of the aquifer in Albuquerque are flawed and incomplete and that more time is needed to come up with a final plan to clean up a long-ago spill of jet fuel.

Col. Tom Miller told state environmental regulators in an Aug. 27 letter that the Air Force wants to formally withdraw thousands of pages of reports submitted in March. He cites data gaps, clerical errors and other circumstances.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the depth and spread of the fuel contamination has yet to be determined.

The Air Force agreed in early August to drill additional monitoring wells near the base to try to determine the size and location of the contamination.

The spill was discovered in 1999.

NM Gets $2M Grant To Help Rural Veterans - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services is among a handful of entities nationwide selected to participate in a pilot program aimed at better serving rural veterans.

The department will receive a $2 million federal grant to increase access to health care and benefits for veterans and their families who live in rural and underserved areas around New Mexico.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced the grant yesterday. He says too many veterans in rural New Mexico face long travel times and a lack of health care options.

In August, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a field hearing in Roswell to address care for rural veterans. At the time, organizers said veterans were clear in their testimony that they are not being provided with the services they need.

Crews Manage Flames Of Latest New Mexico Blaze - The Associated Press

A lightning-sparked wildfire burning on the southern edge of the Jemez Mountains is putting up a large column of smoke that can be seen from miles away.

The fire has been burning for several days, and crews have been managing the flames to clear out heavy fuels from an area east of Jemez Springs. Yesterday they ignited more areas to direct the fire toward existing fire lines.

The fire has burned an estimated 164 acres, and officials expect the plume of smoke to persist for a few days.

Forest Service officials are asking people not to call 911. They say unnecessary calls from the public about the smoke could crash the system and prevent actual emergency calls from reaching dispatchers.

New Mexico Former Union Official Pleads Guilty - The Associated Press

A 44-year-old former labor union official from Albuquerque has pleaded guilty to embezzlement.

Leonard Bridge II on Tuesday pleaded guilty to one count of a 20-count indictment.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says a plea agreement calls for both sides in the case to recommend that Bridge be sentenced to one to two years in prison.

He was employed as the business manager of the Local 131 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors from January 2009 and November 2011, and the plea agreement calls for him to pay nearly $141,000 in restitution to the union.

NM Utility Urges Outdoor Watering Conservation - The Associated Press

Water use in New Mexico's largest city is on pace for a record low this year, and utility officials want residents to stay on track.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is asking customers to ramp down outdoor watering to twice a week starting this month and once a month in November until the first hard freeze hits.

Landscapes need less water in the fall because temperatures drop and soil retains moisture longer.

This year's conservation numbers have been helped by a robust monsoon season.

For the 2014 fiscal year, water use among customers was the lowest since 1983.

Students, Coach Hurt In Lightning Strike Return - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

The three Las Cruces middle school football players and a coach who were injured in an Aug. 19 lightning strike during practice have all returned to school.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Hunter Keffer was the most severely injured student. He sat out a Tuesday night game but expects to play with his team in several weeks.

The 13-year-old still has singed hair.

Meanwhile, schools officials have announced a broader lightning protocol.

It calls for taking students inside from athletics practices and games when lightning hits within 10 miles away. That's up six or seven miles previously. The protocol also newly applies to playgrounds.

Albuquerque Police: Man Arrested In Fatal Shooting - The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say an arrest has been made in a fatal shooting over the Labor Day weekend.

Police say 19-year-old Daryl Martinez was arrested late Tuesday in the shooting of James Lucero on Saturday in northeast Albuquerque.

No additional information was immediately released.

CNM Launches New Community Paramedic Program - The Associated Press

Central New Mexico Community College has launched a new paramedic program aimed at getting graduates into underserved area.

The school announced Tuesday that the new Community Paramedic certificate program is expected to graduate its first class this spring.

Under the program, students must have paramedic licenses and have been working in the field for a minimum of three years. Students will receive certificates of completion in community paramedic after 21 credit hours.

Officials say all classes will be conducted online with face-to-face labs on the weekends.

According to a 2010 report by the National Women's Law Center, New Mexico ranks 49th in the country for medically underserved areas.

Clinics To Help Parents With Child Safety Seats - The Associated Press

A state agency is sponsoring free clinics in five communities to educate parents about the proper use of child safety seats in vehicles.

The Department of Transportation and the nonprofit group Safer New Mexico Now will conduct the clinics Sept. 20 in Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Las Vegas and Santa Fe.

Certified technicians will instruct parents on installing and selecting safety seats.

More information is available from Safer New Mexico Now at 505-856-6143 or 800-231-6145. Appointments are required for the clinics in Alamogordo and Santa Fe.

State law requires safety or booster seats for children under the age of seven or who weigh less than 60 pounds regardless of their age. Children through age 12 must use booster seats if a vehicle's seat belt doesn't properly fit them.